Does Medicare Cover Ambulance Services?

Hopefully, there will never be a time when you’ll need an ambulance, but it’s important to be prepared just in case the time comes. Ambulance services are often crucial if your health is at risk, and you need to get to the hospital. Fortunately, Medicare will cover the cost of ambulance services in many emergency situations, and even some non-emergency scenarios.

Does Medicare Cover Emergency Ambulance Transportation?

In short – yes, Medicare will cover emergency ambulance transportation. Emergency ambulance transportation to a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF) is available when you have a sudden medical emergency, and other means of transportation like a car or taxi aren’t safe. You can choose where you want to go to, however, Medicare will only cover the service if you’re taken to the nearest facility.

Situations that Medicare covers emergency ambulance transportation include:

  • You’re in shock, unconscious or bleeding heavily.
  • You need skilled medical treatment during transportation.

These are only a few examples. Medicare coverage depends on the seriousness of your medical condition and whether you could’ve been safely transported by other means.

Does Medicare Pay for Transportation to Doctor Appointments?

For the most part, no, Medicare doesn’t pay for transportation to doctor appointments, except in certain situations. Medicare may cover non-emergency ambulance transportation to a doctor’s appointment if traveling any other way could put your health in danger. Your doctor must provide a written order saying that it’s necessary, so we recommend that you check ahead of time. Ambulette services (vehicles that don’t offer emergency care) aren’t covered by Medicare, so you need to ensure that you’re arranging your transportation with an ambulance.

Unfortunately, if you need a ride, but traveling isn’t a risk to your health, you aren’t eligible for Medicare-covered transport. If you aren’t sure if traveling is a health risk, consult with your doctor. You can contact your local Area Agency on Aging to see what transportation resources are available in your community.

Does Medicare Cover Air Ambulance?

Medicare will cover air ambulance transportation in emergency situations if ground travel would take too long, or if your location is impossible to reach by land alone.

If you’re transported by air ambulance when you could have safely traveled by land, Medicare will only pay the land ambulance rate, and you’re responsible for the difference.

Does My Medicare Supplement Cover Ambulance Services?

As long as Medicare approves your transportation, your Medicare Supplement plan will pay its portion of the cost. If Medicare doesn’t approve your ambulance service, then your Medicare Supplement, regardless of the plan letter, won’t pay either. 

Ambulance transportation services are covered under Medicare Part B, and most Medicare Supplement plans cover Medicare Part B coinsurance completely. The most popular Medicare Supplement plans, Plan F and Plan G, both pay 100% of the coinsurance. Keep in mind that if you have Medicare Supplement Plan G and haven’t met your Medicare Part B deductible ($198 in 2020), you’ll most likely need to pay that.  

Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

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